A Trip To NOLA + Recommendations

A Week In New Orleans

Get ready for a photo overload! Just a few weeks ago, a couple of friends and I went to New Orleans for the Collision Conference. Way back in October, I received an email for $7 tickets (as opposed to the $700 face value of the ticket) for me and 2 other friends as a part of Women in Tech so we jumped at the chance. At the time we bought them with the hopes of making it happen but weren’t too set on it because of school and other logistics. Early this year we bit the bullet and bought our plane tickets and booked an AirBnB. Even though we all had so many things going on at the time, I’m glad we got the chance to get away and explore a new city. It was so nice to not think about school for a while!

On Monday, we flew down to NOLA which took most of the day. We registered and figured out which talks we wanted to attend the following day. We were in traffic for too long on the way from the airport so we weren’t able to go on the cultural tours Collision had pre-arranged but we did go to Frenchmen Street where they welcomed all the attendees to mingle and hangout. While we didn’t talk to any other attendees, we did enjoy the hotdogs at DatDog  (the veggie dog was pretty good!) and the live jazz bands we saw at Café Negril and Bamboula’s. It was a lot of fun and we got excited for the week.

Bamboula's New Orleans
Bamboula’s, New Orleans

The next day, we went to Surrey’s for breakfast… and it. Was. Amazing. The Banana Foster’s French Toast was to die for and the Roasted Veggie Omelette wasn’t bad either! Then we headed to the first day of the conference for a few talks but nothing stands out to me. What we realized as we attended different talks were that Collision tries to cover many different tech related topics. This makes it difficult to really dive deep into a specific topic. Many of the talks really seemed interesting based off of the titles but since being in our Master’s program, some of the information was surface level and things we already knew on a basic level. That being said, the Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, future of tech, and Leadership talks were pretty good!

New OrleansWe tried to stick it out as long as we could but we wanted to see more of NOLA. We walked around the French Quarter, ate some beignets at Café du Monde, and walked along the river. The three of us also decided to take a “ghost tour” which was essentially a tour guide telling us historical stories and legends. It was pretty fun albeit a very touristy thing to do.New OrleansOn Wednesday it rained for most of the day but thankfully cleared up in the late afternoon. After some talks in the morning, we headed to Gumbo Shop. Yet another delicious restaurant! I had the Vegetarian Dish of the Day, Creole Style which ended up being rice and beans with some Creole seasoning. We also had their fruit slushies which were very refreshing. The plan was to visit a few museums but they all closed at 5 so we had to head back to the AirBnB after walking around post-lunch since it started raining again. We were rained in the rest of the night but we just relaxed, watched Netflix, and ordered Japanese food.

We slept in a little on Thursday and headed to Stanley for breakfast. If there’s one thing you need to eat for breakfast in NOLA, it’s the Banana Foster’s French Toast. Stanley’s version had ice cream and it was everything I needed that morning. After breakfast, we walked around Jackson Square, walked through the market, and walked an insane amount. We attempted to go to St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, where Marie Laveau is buried, but after the long walk there, we found out you had to pay $20 for the tour to enter; there was no going in otherwise. It wasn’t really worth it to us so we walked back down to the French Quarter to Cage Beignet. We shared some beignets, enjoyed the live jazz music, and had a drink. It was much needed after walking several miles already.French Quarter, New OrleansAfter walking back to the low-key Frenchmen Street, we enjoyed dinner at the Three Muses. Again, the piano performer was amazing; I think he was actually in the Jazz Festival! The Spotted Cat down the street was next on our list since several people had suggested it. More great jazz music but it started to fill up pretty quickly. After one drink, we decided to walk to Bacchanal’s. It was 1.5 miles so it’s safe to say we walked over 7 miles that day. There was already a line as we got there but it was worth the wait. There are several people that guide you through picking a bottle of wine and then another that will help you pick out a few cheeses. After that, you find a table and enjoy the music. It was one of the most memorable parts of the trip!

Another spot on the suggestions list was Pat O’Brien’s so we Ubered there next. As soon as we walked in, a waiter told us he was going to get us our drinks! Pat O’Brien’s is known for it’s Hurricanes but we didn’t realize how HUGE they were. It was already getting packed so there wasn’t much room, especially in Piano Bar, but it was fun nonetheless. As soon as we stepped out, a place called The Cats Meow caught our eye. While we aren’t the karaoke type, it was still a little early and it looked like a fun place. After a an hour or so, we headed back to our AirBnb and I passed out right away.

Jazz Fest, New Orleans
Jazz Fest, New Orleans

Our last and final stop of the trip was Jazz Fest on Friday! There wasn’t a cloud in sight and  it was a beautiful day to walk around the festival. We made sure to visit each of the 13 stages and the music was incredible! I loved it although I was so tired from the week we just had. I also ate some fried okra and bread pudding to end my stay in NOLA. Unfortunately, our flights were in the evening so we had to say goodbye and miss out on the big acts at Jazz Fest that evening.

While there are still a few places I want to eat (Muriel’s, Evangeline, and Mother’s) and visit (Perseveration Hall and The National WWII Museum), this was a great trip with two great friends! I’m really glad we had the chance to get away from school and familiar places and got to explore a new city together. The conference wasn’t what we hoped it would be but there are still a few talks I found to be inspiring and informative; I would definitely go to other tech conferences in the future.

Have you ever been to NOLA or are from there? Let me know what I should do next time I’m there! Never been? Would you ever visit? What other US cities would you want to travel to?

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